Contest entry for Smells Like Metallic Roses 90s TwiFic Contest

Title: Seismic Shifts

Pairing: Bella/Edward

Rating: M

Summary: The aftermath of the Northridge earthquake leaves Bella shaken, anxious, and unsure about remaining in Los Angeles. Can Edward help soothe her frazzled nerves and shift her thoughts about staying in LA?

Disclaimer: I don't own Bella and Edward or Twilight, but I love being able to play with them a little.

BPOV

As I waited out yet another large aftershock, I could feel tears start welling up in my eyes. There were times that I felt Los Angeles was telling me to go back to the east coast, and the past few days … no, more like the past few years were definitely pushing me in that direction.

The Rodney King riots were the spring semester of my freshman year. USC is in the middle of South Central LA and we had front row seats to all that was happening. As we listened to the radio while standing on the roof of our dorm, looking at our burning city, my friends and I counted fires, correcting the news on how many were burning as new ones sprung up. All we could do was bear witness to the heartbreaking reality of what was happening. They actually cancelled finals that year. The brush fires and the floods were last year; nothing that directly affected campus except for the ever-thickening smog due to the amount of smoke and ash in the air. But still, it was enough to give a girl pause … again.

And then this year … Northridge. A few nights ago, my roommates and I were bored and took a late night drive through the Hollywood Hills. We looked at the huge houses and just had a relaxing evening fantasizing about who lived in them and what their lives were like. We got back to the apartment around 3 a.m. and found our cat wigging out. We thought nothing of it until after. I mean, come on, it's a damn cat, they wig out from time to time. I climbed into the lower bunk of the bed in my room, once again idly wondering why a single room had bunk beds. I realized I forgot to turn off my light, and was tired enough to just say screw it and sleep with it on and started to doze off. And that's when the shaking and the loud rumbling began. The light flickered on and off, giving a surreal quality to what was happening, and it took a moment for my brain to click in. I dove out from my bed, terrified that the top bunk would collapse onto me, and crawled to the doorway, not thinking about anything other than getting away from the window and the bed and anything else that could possibly tip over. After the rumbling noise and the shaking stopped and the light went out for good, I sat there in shock, trying to regroup. I finally moved into the kitchen of the apartment, hugging Rose and Alice, my roommates, and making sure they were ok. As we stood there, trying to get more information from the radio, a large aftershock hit, making us all shriek and dive for various doorways in the apartment. Three large aftershocks hit in a row, one right after the other. When the ground finally stopped moving, the three of us joined the rest of the residents in the building's hallway, using the faint glow of the emergency lights shining through the windows to find our way.

Once the Resident Advisor on duty told us it was safe to stay in the building, I stumbled back to my room, grabbed my pillow and quilt from my bed, and curled up next to the doorway, still not quite comfortable having a bunk bed over me. I tossed and turned and finally grabbed my Discman, popped my 10,000 Maniacs Unplugged CD in, and let Natalie Merchant lull me to sleep.

A few short hours later, I woke up when my light came back on. The university phone system had started working again, so I was finally able to call my parents to let them know I was okay. As I suspected, they were anxiously waiting by the phone. They hadn't been able to get through to me even though the phones were working again since all incoming phone lines were blocked, and they were understandably worried. I probably should have left out the part of the story with Alice, Rose, and me driving over the I-10 overpass about an hour before it collapsed. I don't think that made my mom feel any better about things.

Over the next few days, the aftershocks took a major toll on me. They would start to decrease, giving me hope that they'd eventually taper off completely, and then one that registered a 4 or a 5 on the Richter scale would happen out of the blue. I constantly felt on edge, bracing myself for the next one to hit, or for the aftershocks to trigger another fault line and another massive earthquake. I wasn't sleeping much – every time I closed my eyes, I was taken back to that moment when the quake hit and I could feel the earth move and hear the rumbling and screaming. I would bolt up and sit there, my heart pounding, my breath ragged, and all hopes of going to sleep ruined. The few times I had managed to fall asleep, I was woken by yet another aftershock. I tried separating the bunk beds, thinking that not having one over me would give me some peace of mind. While it did to some extent, it didn't help me sleep. Quite honestly, nothing seemed to help. All told, I had only grabbed a couple of hours of sleep each day, and all of it restless.

Which is how I came to be sitting in the deserted Drama Center, fighting back tears, knees pulled up to my chest, waiting out yet another large aftershock. As it ended, I unfolded myself, wiped at the few tears that had managed to escape, and started considering whether I wanted to go grab some food or whether I should just give up and go back to the apartment. The front door opened and I fully expected to see one of my fellow stage managers come in to post a rehearsal cancellation notice, the whole reason I had to venture from my apartment in the first place. My daily trek to the DRC to post and review rehearsal schedules was the bane of my existence, but there was no other way to let the actors know when and where they were needed and to make sure none of them were scheduled to be in two places at once. Instead, much to my surprise, a relieved looking Edward Cullen stood there, staring at me.

I didn't know why he was there – he was a music student and, although he had played in the pit for our musical that closed last week, I had never seen him in the DRC before. We had flirted a lot through the run of the show, getting to know each other little by little, and liking each other more and more. And while the show brought us together, it also prevented us from going out on a real date since we were at the theatre every night and still had classes during the day. We finally had a chance to spend some time together outside of the show at the closing party the Saturday before the earthquake. It had been one of the few clear nights in LA and we had avoided the crowd by sitting out on the roof, gazing at the stars, and just talking about anything and everything. And possibly making out and dry humping a little too. Now that was a good night.

"Edward? What are you …"

He rushed over to me and pulled me into a hug, sighing into my hair, muttering, "You're okay."

"And you are," I responded, so relieved. I had heard his apartment building had been evacuated for being structurally compromised and hadn't had a way to check on him.

I nuzzled his chest, taking comfort and feeling safe for the first time in days. "What are you doing here, Edward? Aren't you usually in the music quad or the practice rooms right about now?"

"I was hoping I'd find you here, Bella. When they had us evacuate, I didn't have time to grab the contact list for the show or the paper with your number on it, and I didn't know how to reach you to make sure you were okay." He took a minute to take a closer look at my face and a look of concern crossed his. "Are you really okay?"

I thought about brushing off his concern, but I was honestly too tired to bother putting on any kind of fake front. "No, not really," I said and started to tear up again. "I'm so tired, Edward. So fucking tired. And so tired of being scared and tense, waiting for the next aftershock to happen." He hugged me tighter, murmuring reassurances into my hair, and just let me cry a little.

Once I calmed down, I extricated myself from his arms and blushed at my mini breakdown. "I'm so sorry."

He got this adorable crease between his eyebrows and asked, "What on earth are you sorry for? For crying? No way, not accepting that apology. It's been a weird, stressful couple of days. And I love that you chose me to talk to about it. Besides, there's no crying in earthquakes!" he said with a smirk.

Him quoting "A League of Their Own" made me smile a little, quite possibly the first time I had since everything happened. And smiling again, however brief or small it was, felt so good. My grin got even bigger when I realized he was blushing. I couldn't help but wonder if it was because he dropped that "L" word in there. Even with everything else going on, I definitely noticed that.

"Hey, I was about to grab lunch at Café 84. Do you want to join me?"

Much to my embarrassment, my stomach grumbled in response to the thought of food. "So, your stomach seems to be up for it. How about the rest of you?" he asked with a grin.

"Sure." I smiled back at him. He took my hand and my body thrummed with electricity from his touch and reminded me just how amazing Saturday night had been.

We made our way to the café, grabbed our food, and sat and caught up on the events from the past few days. He told me about the damage to his apartment and that, while none of his belongings were ruined, he hadn't been let back in yet to retrieve anything, and that he was staying on his sister's couch for the time being. As I started to relax a little, another, much smaller, aftershock hit. Even though it was a less jarring one than earlier, that didn't stop me from squeezing my eyes shut and grabbing his hand, my knuckles turning white from the tension in my grasp. The shaking finished and I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to see two worried green ones peering at me.

"Bella?"

"I know," I said resignedly. "It's just the aftershocks … and I haven't slept … and they keep happening … and I never know when they're coming … and I'm fucking sick of the earth moving, okay? The ground doesn't fucking move on the east coast, Edward!"

"Bella. You're okay. It will be okay, I promise."

"I know, I just …" I stopped, remembering how safe I felt in Edward's arms earlier. Throwing caution to the wind because, at that point, I would do anything to get some sleep, I blurted out, "Stay with me tonight. I mean … I'm sorry … would you do me a huge favor and come over and sleep with me tonight? Oh God … I mean SLEEP. Like actual sleep! Not like, come over and fuck me tonight, sleep with me, but real sleep. Jesus, I'm just making this worse. Look, I haven't slept more than a few hours since the quake and I'm so fucking tired and you make me feel safe."

"I love that I make you feel safe, Bella. I have to do a couple of things on campus and then I'll run back to my sister's place and pick up some clothes. I'll head over around six, okay? We can order a pizza and just hang out and then get you some sleep. Does that sound good?"

"Is it weird that it sounds like heaven to me right now?"

He laughed quietly and said, "No, not at all. It sounds pretty good to me too."

As we parted ways, he kissed me gently and murmured, "I'll see you in a while, beautiful."

I walked back to my apartment, feeling lighter than I had in days.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up around the apartment a little. After I grabbed a shower, I slipped into some leggings and a tank top with a long, fitted, plaid shirt over it. My roommate, Alice, tried to talk me into this floral, baby doll dress she had, but that just felt like too much for a night at home. I felt comfortable and had some pretty great cleavage happening and thought I looked pretty good, all things considered. There was a knock on the door at six on the dot and Edward was there in all his glory, his backpack and another bag in his hand. And by all his glory, I mean I thought he was gorgeous when he was dressed up to play the show, but this? A flannel over a Smashing Pumpkins Gish shirt, shorts, and Doc Martens … holy hell was he hot. And he had great taste in music too. The boy was just getting better and better in my eyes.

He walked in, put the bags down, pulled me to him, and then gave me a not so gentle kiss. Then he leaned his forehead against mine as his thumbs rubbed circles on my hips. "Hi."

I whispered back, "Hi."

I heard someone clear her throat and I stepped out of the little bubble of happy we had created to see my roommates smiling at us. "Okay, guys, we're heading out for the night. Take care of her, Edward, okay? We don't like seeing our girl like she's been the past few days," Rose said as they headed out the door.

After they left, he looked at me with curiosity and a glimmer of mischief in his eyes. "They know who I am, do they? I'll take that as a good sign."

I smiled at him and then diverted the conversation, not wanting to get into the gush session I had with them after I got home from that party. "So, what's in the bag?"

"Well, I brought some beer I had and some of my sister's Zima – I wasn't sure what you'd like to drink. Oh, and my sister said this would be a good movie to make you smile," he said as he pulled a copy of "The Princess Bride" from his backpack. I could feel my face light up and he laughed. "I guess she was right about that."

I couldn't help but tease him back. "Your sister knows who I am, does she? I'll take that as a good sign. And I've loved that movie since I first saw it in high school. Now, how about that pizza?"

We sat on the couch with our drinks and I curled into him, my head on his shoulder, as we waited for the pizza to arrive. He drew random patterns on my leg with his fingers as we sat there, comfortable and quiet, yet with a low, constant buzz of electricity between us. After eating and clearing the dishes, I popped the movie into the VCR and turned around to see Edward lying on the couch, patting the space between his legs. I sat and leaned back, my head against his chest, feeling the beat of his heart against me as the movie started. I don't think I lasted five minutes into the movie before the quiet rhythm of his heart lulled me to sleep. The next thing I knew, I was jostled and then lifted and I groggily opened my eyes. "Edward?"

"Hush, beautiful. I'm just putting you to bed. Go back to sleep."

"Don't leave me," I murmured.

"I don't think that's possible," I thought I heard him say as I started to drift off again. I vaguely felt him setting me down on the bed then unbuttoning and gently removing the shirt I was wearing.

"Leggings off," I mumbled as I unhooked my bra and pulled it out from under my tank top.

"As you wish," he said as he laughed gently and laid me down. I finally felt his body curl itself around mine, and his arm wrap around me, holding me to him. I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

When I woke the next morning, I was aware of how safe and rested I finally felt. I glanced at the clock and realized with relief that I had slept for over twelve hours and it was all thanks to the man who was still holding me.

"Edward?" I whispered. "Are you awake?"

"Mmmmmhmmm," he said in my ear, and then proceeded to pepper my neck with kisses. "Good morning, beautiful. How did you sleep?"

"Uhhhhhhh … slept so good … this is so good … mmmmm … waking up with you like this is good."

He chuckled gently against my neck, nipping at it slightly. As he nibbled his way up and down my neck and sucked my earlobe into his mouth, I groaned and rubbed myself against him. His hand, which had been lazily tracing patterns on my stomach, reached up further under my tank top. He cupped my breast and then started teasing my nipples while sucking on my neck. I moaned loudly and ground my ass harder against his solid cock.

"Is this okay?" he asked. Once I nodded, he growled in my ear, "Turn over." I happily obeyed, finding myself staring into passion filled eyes before he lowered his mouth to mine, kissing me breathless. He slowly started licking and nipping his way down my neck, paying special attention to the hollow at the base, knowing what that did to me, all while squeezing and teasing my breasts. I was breathing heavily and whimpering as he slowly raised my tank top, and dipped his head down to kiss and lick and nibble where his hands just were. I pulled my top off so I could feel his skin on mine, and as he continued to squeeze my breasts, he moved up to suck on my neck some more. I grabbed his ass and pulled him against me, moving my hips against his, grinding out a rhythm that was starting to make me crazy.

He groaned and whispered, "Bella?"

"Please. Please, Edward. I want you. Please."

He looked into my eyes, grinned, and said, "As you wish."

I giggled quietly which quickly turned into a moan as he started kissing his way back down me, licking and nipping at my stomach as he pulled my panties down. He gazed at me heatedly as he removed his boxers and then lay down between my legs, kissing me tenderly and asking if I had anything. I reached into the bedside table, ever so grateful for the free condoms the health center included with each refill of my pill. He knelt up and reached for my hand, but I shook my head. He looked confused for a moment until I took his cock in my hand and stroked it slowly. His eyes rolled back in his head as he groaned out, "Oh fuuuuuuuck." He suddenly smirked, reached down, and started gently rubbing circles around my clit. The sight of me stroking him and his fingers working their magic on me was intense and only added to how amazing he was making me feel.

When he slipped two fingers into me, he groaned when he realized just how turned on and ready I was. He pumped his fingers a couple of times while rubbing my clit with his thumb and I moaned and rocked my hips against his hand. No matter how good he was making me feel, I just couldn't wait any longer. I sheathed him in the condom and he positioned himself back between my legs. I felt empty for a moment when he removed his fingers, but suddenly, I felt the head of his cock right there … ready … and the anticipation of what was about to happen took my breath away. He looked into my eyes as he entered me slowly, both of us moaning as we joined together. Nothing had prepared me for the intensity of this. Nothing had prepared me for the intensity of us.

I could see the surprise and elation in his eyes as well as he gazed down at me and stroked my cheek with his thumb. "Bella, I've never … this is …"

"I know. Me too."

He leaned down and kissed me as he started to slowly move in and out of me, my hips meeting his, thrust for thrust. It felt so good … he felt so good. I had never felt anything like this before and I moaned slightly louder each time we came together and his body rubbed against my clit. Suddenly, he lifted one of my legs up onto his shoulder, letting him thrust deeper into me. But even better, whatever it was about that angle, it was magic. Somehow, it let him rub my g-spot with each thrust, and I had never felt anything like it. I never really believed the g-spot existed, but he was quickly turning me into a true believer. My low moans turned into a higher pitched "Ohhhh" and he realized what this position was doing to me. He got a wicked glint in his eye and reached between us to rub my clit and kept thrusting hard and with a steady, mind numbing rhythm, focusing all of his attention on how I was reacting.

"Oh my god. Holy fuck. Keep doing that, Edward. Don't stop. Oh my god." I was quickly hurtling towards an orgasm – the first I ever had during sex - and I just wanted him to keep going … to keep making me feel this good. I felt my muscles tighten and then finally, with a loud, feral groan, I came hard around him, arching my back, and gripping his biceps.

When I finally opened my eyes, I saw him looking down at me in awe, with a large, proud smile on his face. I lowered my leg and placed both feet flat on the bed and grabbed his ass and whispered, "Now let's take care of you." As I lifted my hips and drove him into me hard with my hands guiding his hips, he started grunting and breathing faster. When he began to thrust erratically, I latched my lips onto his neck, sucking and scraping my teeth against him. It quickly pushed him over the edge and he came with a deep moan.

He lay on top of me, trying to catch his breath, and it felt so good, so safe, to be completely surrounded by him. He slipped out of me and pulled the condom off and dropped it in the wastebasket next to the bed. He went to move off of me, but I held him in place.

"Stay here. I love how you feel on top of me."

His eyes darkened and he chuckled quietly. "Funny how that works, because I love being on top of you." He cupped my face in his hands, and his gaze turned tender again as he kissed me gently. He laid his head in the crook of my neck, occasionally placing soft kisses there. After a couple of minutes cuddling up with me, he asked, "You know that's not all this was, right? That I don't just want an occasional fuck or anything? That I want something real with you?"

"I want that too. I want something real with you, Edward. And not just because you quote 'The Princess Bride' to me, you cheeseball."

He propped his head up with his elbow and looked at me, his goofy smile mirroring the one I was sure I was wearing. "Yeah, but I'm your cheeseball." He smirked and added, "Well, I wouldn't put it that way, but … okay."

"Really, Edward? 'Sleepless in Seattle'? Can you quote anything but chick flicks?" I asked with a laugh.

"Well, I didn't think 'Dazed and Confused' quite fit the moment, but if you prefer it ... All right, all right, all right," he drawled with perfect Wooderson inflection.

"What are we having social hour over here? I'm supposed to be being a bitch," I quoted and started giggling uncontrollably.

He threw his head back and laughed at my giggle fit and then leaned down and kissed me again. Suddenly the laughter died on my lips, replaced with a quiet, contented sigh. What started out tender slowly became more heated until we were both gasping for breath. I could feel him hardening against my thigh as we started working each other up again … licking … nibbling … biting … sucking …

And as I started to lose myself in this boy and the pleasure he brought me, I couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, Los Angeles was giving me a reason to stay, after all. And that sometimes an aftershock is needed to shift things around.

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